David Katzenstein’s 50/50 Project

For over 25 years, David Katzenstein has traveled the world, either on assignment or on personal journeys, photographing the daily life and rhythm of the world’s indigenous cultures.

His current project “50/50: 50 Countries, 50 Photos” is a collection of fifty images taken in fifty of the countries he’s visited throughout the years. Read our interview with David about the project below. And check back with us next week when we will begin posting each of David’s countries here on the blog once a week until we’ve featured all fifty.

What made you decide to start your 50/50 project?
The 50/50 project came about when I was asked by the director of The Forward Thinking Museum to put together a list of countries where I had photographed in. I began to think that a collection of a representative image from each country would make for an interesting book project, and there are many stories behind the various images. It was a challenge to select one image to represent a country, especially countries that I have had the opportunity to return to a number of times for various assignments and projects.

While on assignment for AES (a global electric company),  you traveled the world for over 3 years taking pictures. Are many of your 50 country images ones that were captured during that assignment?
Yes. I think that I selected images from the AES project to represent 17 of the 50 countries included here. For AES we had the good fortune of traveling to 26 countries, exploring local cultures while at the same time creating a library of images that represented the company’s infrastructure and social and environmental responsibility projects. It was the true melding of art and commerce.

When choosing your 50 countries & images, what was your main goal?
I tried to select images that shared a part of the spirit of each place, and would serve as a good introduction to the variety of cultures represented here. We have also created links to view additional images from each place so the viewer can see a broader selection from specific countries.

We will be featuring one country each week here on the blog until we’ve shared all 50. Are there a few that you’re especially excited to share with us?
Actually, it is difficult to choose favorites. I am often asked what is my favorite place in the world to visit and photograph. My reply is that I have spent years traversing the globe in search of that special moment, and discovered that there are special moments everywhere – you just need to be open to experiencing them. Each image selected for the 50/50 project will come with a story. I hope your viewers will enjoy them.

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